MonkeyLectric 3D spherical POV display

Anyone who’s been to a Bay Area Maker Faire likely remembers seeing the cool persistence of vision (POV) displays by Dan Goldwater/MonkeyLectric. This visual effect is achieved by conventionally spinning bike wheels that have lights along their spokes. The lights are controlled in a such a way that the afterimage they create in motion is retained on the retina and a persistent image is visible. Now imagine not only spinning the wheel on its center horizontal axis, but spinning it on a vertical axis and controlling the lights to produce interesting POV effects in that plane as well. The result is a 3D spherical POV display. In this Instructable, Dan shows you how he created this 3D spherical display rig and a control box that allows the display to be fully interactive (to exhibit at events like Maker Faire and Siggraph).

n00tron 3D Spherical Volumetric Display – Interactive Exhibit

2 thoughts on “MonkeyLectric 3D spherical POV display

  1. wonder-wheeler says:

    The base looks sturdy, but…

    it all needs to be supported by some kind of arch, crane or gallows such that people can walk under it. Just out of reach, maybe 8 feet from the floor to the bottom of the wheel. Would be good at dances, like an electonic mirror ball almost.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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